POCOCK, George (1706-92), of Twickenham, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 21 Feb. 1706, 1st s. of Rev. Thomas Pocock, rector of Danbury, Essex and chaplain to Greenwich Hospital, by Joyce, da. of James Master of East Langdon, Kent, sis. of Margaret, wife of George Byng, 1st Visct. Torrington. m. 28 Nov. 1763, Sophia, da. of George Drake (s. of Sir Francis Drake, 3rd Bt.), wid. of Capt. Digby Dent, R.N., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1745. cr. K.B. 23 Mar. 1761.
Entered R.N. 1718; lt. 1726; cdr. 1734; capt. 1738; r.-adm. 1755; v.-adm. 1757; adm. 1762.
Pocock was returned for Plymouth on the Admiralty interest, and usually voted with the court. In 1762 he commanded the fleet at the capture of Havana, and is reported to have received over £120,000 as his share of the prize money. In December 1762 George Grenville, newly appointed first lord of the Admiralty, was ‘immensely desirous’ of having Pocock as a junior lord, but the Board already included one admiral and ‘the necessity of the King’s affairs would not permit two’.1
Pocock probably voted with the Grenville Administration over Wilkes and general warrants. In July 1765 he was classed by Rockingham as ‘pro’, yet he voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766. When in July 1766 Chatham formed his Administration, and appointed Sir Charles Saunders, an officer junior to Pocock, first lord of the Admiralty, Pocock took offence.
I take the liberty to ... express my surprise [he wrote to Chatham on 1 Aug.2] you should put such an indignity as I find your Lordship has, upon fifteen flag officers; I don’t mean to derogate from the merits of the worthy Admiral who is placed at the head of the Board of Admiralty for whom I have a great regard, but I apprehend it will occasion discontent and murmuring and may prove worse in its effects; for my own part, who have served the Crown upwards of forty-eight years, I can’t help thinking some notice might have been taken of me when a flag officer was in question to preside as chief in the naval department. And this unworthy treatment occasions me to take notice of it to your Lordship, who had formerly a pretty good opinion of the services I had rendered my King and country.
On 13 Sept. Augustus Hervey wrote to Grenville:3
I found a letter from Sir G. Pocock telling me he had resigned his flag in an audience he had with the King the 11th, after 48 years service. I pity him, but I pity the service most, who loses so brave and so good an officer in every sense. Added to this he has the mortification of seeing his wife going very fast. The King only told him that he had heard he wanted a peerage.
He seems also to have ceased to attend Parliament; in each of the three lists of the House of Commons drawn up between November 1766 and March 1767 by Rockingham, Charles Townshend, and Newcastle, he is noted as absent.
Yet in 1779, when he was over 73, he was considered by North as a candidate for a by-election in Middlesex. ‘I doubt we shall not persuade Sir G. Pocock to stand’, North wrote to Robinson on 29 Sept.,4 ‘but he is the best candidate.’ It seems doubtful if any approach was made to Pocock, and he did not stand. He died 3 Apr. 1792.